referring to the form a characteristic takes after having undergone a transformative process, e.g. a new form is derived from an ancestral form through evolutionary change. In cladistics, derived characters are referred to as apomorphies.
Describes a character state that is present in one or more subclades, but not all, of a clade under consideration. A derived character state is inferred to be a modified version of the primitive condition of that character, and to have arisen later in the evolution of the clade. For example, "presence of hair" is a primitive character state for all mammals, whereas the "hairlessness" of whales is a derived state for one subclade within the Mammalia.